BMW M Going AWD in the Future


In a surprise move, BMW M ‘s head of R&D, Albert Biermann told AutoCar a bit about future M offerings.

“Turbocharging provides more power and performance but with better fuel economy and emissions,” says Albert Biermann, BMW M’s head of R&D. The V8 is the same ‘S63′ unit used in the X5 M and X6 M, but with revised induction and exhausts for sharper throttle response and a more solid top end. Biermann also stated,“There will be some all-wheel-drive surprises on M cars in the future.”

Many have concluded that his comment about M going 4 wheeling was directed at only the ///M5, which is set to make its public debut in a few weeks at Sahnghai but we take that to mean that M is looking into offering more models (outside just the X5 and X6) in all wheel drive. The M5 being offered in all wheel drive is no surprise as many of the early spy videos showed the car getting power on the tarmac a little too even to be rear wheel drive. When Alpina created an xDrive version of their flagship B7 the writing was on the wall that M would likely follow suit. If you read between the lines this may also indicate that to the chagrin of many enthusiasts the X3 may be offered in an M version as well as the the next 3 series.These two platforms are intertwined and dollars spenton one can easily translate to the other for the most part so it just makes sense to build one thinking about the other.

The fact is that the “snow belt ” accounts for much of BMWs sales figures and many in that region prefer all wheel drive (thanks to other brands spending marketing dollars to push AWD) so BMW and M needs to heed to the buyers wishes. BMW has been selling more xDrive vehicles over the past few years, actually selling more AWD than even Audi. Does this mean that BMW M has gone from naturally aspirated and rear wheel drive to boosted AWD overnight? We doubt it, as the main reason for going to turbos was for emissions/efficiency reasons. Adding AWD always kills efficiency so unless M has designed a system that is only active at the push of a button (engagement driver selectable), or intelligent enough to not add much weight or drag how are they going to get the MPG numbers where they want in an AWD vehicle?

Source: Autocar

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  • Adam

    There is a video where Dr. Segler was asked about AWD in the M5 and he repeatedly said that it would add far too much weight. Scott26 also responded by saying that the article was taken out of context, meaning they want somthing to accompany the X5-6M models. Check out for said video, does provide some relief.

    The forum trolls and other may bitch all night that this is the final straw and M has lost it’s direction but now that Ferrari makes an AWD hatchback I’d say purism really falls in the face of profit, BMW doesn’t make money on the 10% who call themselves purists.

    • Michael

      Well said!

  • A C

    BMW M is already 4WD….. for a couple of years now.

  • A C

    BMW M is already 4WD….. for a couple of years now.

    • Michael

      A C – yep with the X5X6 as we mentioned but they are looking to expand. Best guess is X3 M at this point.

      BMW still does not offer ANY non SAV models with AWD and a true sports suspension, so the jump from that to an M5 with AWD is a huge leap.


  • JonPD

    Gah, another /Momsport wagon on the way. AWD….

    I am somewher between huge dissapointment with ///M and BMW as a whole. What is going on with ///M, it seems in a great many things I feel in love with are being retired by the brand trying to be Audi or Porsche. I really wish that ///M would return to standing for motorsports rather than trying to pick up the crumbles under other manafactures table. It seems that ///M is following BMW lead by niche marketing.

    M the most powerful letter on the weekend soccer field.

    • Anonymous

      congratulations on your outstanding posturing – you are most certainly too M for M

  • Heidelbach

    M brand is making me sick, did the developers forget about how BMW got the M brand? well it wasn’t from making shitty X5M’s and placing an “s” in from of an exsiting engine. M is dying.. and fast.

    • Adam

      I welcome you to go to another brand that offers the driving dynamics of the “watered down” BMW range, and in the same price point too. As I mentioned above Ferrari makes an AWD hatchback, are you gonna say Ferrari is dying fast? Quite the opposite they have sold out for 2 years of that model.

      M know how to run there own business and how to survive in a far less stable economy, let them make money how they see they want to and just enjoy the fact that they make stuff like the M5. Rant over.

  • goat

    A couple of thoughts: 1. I think you are right that Audi is to be “credited” with the conflation of AWD with not only “safety” but now “performance” for many North Americans. 2. Given the ever-increased HP of the vehicle classes that BMW competes in, it is becoming challenging for daily driver sports sedans to be RWD only. And believe me I make that statement being a MASSIVE advocate for RWD, all the time, even in winter, even in Canada.

    Having said that, I think there is tremendous value in BMW maintaining a RWD version of future M sedans as a brand differentiatior. Let me set the scene:

    When Audi says “look at us we have quattro and active rear differential!”, BMW can answer them in kind. But after meeting Audi’s AWD performance platforms head-on (which they have yet to do), BMW retains an additional ace that Audi simply doesn’t have and is unlikely to develop in near future on any of their sedans – a RWD M variant – the Ultimate Driving Machine.

  • Everybody also needs to keep in mind, it doesn’t seem like this will be a forced transition. If there is going to be the option for AWD or RWD, who cares. The more people under the BMW flag, the merrier as far as I’m concerned.

    Don’t get me wrong, I shutter at the word Audi and love me my M5 or M3 for that matter but If I was ever lucky enough to afford even a Z4, I would take the car in RWD or AWD (unless there was a choice in which sure, for me in SoCal, AWD is pointless). And let’s be honest, how many M5 drivers are really taking their cars to the track? Living here in SoCal, I can tell you that most of the M5’s here have never gone past 90MPH, let alone on a track.

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  • guyperson

    This is simple, BMW is trying to sell more cars. It’ll most likely be an option – whats the problem. I live in a snowy town with incredibly steep hills. RWD is not an option. I’d buy one. Not sure why everyone’s bashing AWD… how many people have said, “you know, I’d buy a Bugatti Veyron if only it wasn’t AWD…”